We are very disappointed when we discover that our child has engaged in some sort of deception. One of the most difficult aspects of parenting is when we see an undesirable trait in our children, understanding that the source of the problem is in the child’s inherent sin nature - but the second place to look is in ourselves as parents.
Have we modeled honesty and inspired trust in our children by our own actions?
How many times have we promised rewards and incentives, only to renege at the last minute because we were tired, our finances were strained, or something else came up? Do we excuse our broken promises as, “That’s life- deal with it”?
Of course, life happens - but if we view our behavior through the eyes of inexperienced and immature children, repeated betrayals sow distrust and resentment. We will not reap dependability and honesty if we are thoughtlessly planting hypocrisy in their hearts and minds.
We are just as obligated to be dependable and honest with our children as we would be with any other person. Respect is built on trust, and we are out of line to demand respect from our children and scold them for being irresponsible if we have not first required those traits in ourselves.
If we use the promise of reward to inspire and motivate our kids, we need to be faithful to follow through and keep our word.
Rewards don't have to be monetary or material. There are many ways to recognize your child's accomplishments that don't involve giving them money or more toys.
A valuable reward for work that is completed properly and quickly is free time. Children thrive on free, creative play. Just because they aren't seated at a desk in front of a textbook doesn't mean they aren't learning.
Children also want to be recognized for responsible behavior with age-appropriate privileges. Let them stay up late at night reading a book or drawing pictures. Let them learning computer coding, or pop some popcorn and watch a favorite television show together. Let them ride their bike around the block, or built a birdhouse by themselves.
However you choose to motivate and recognize your child's efforts, be fair and honest in your expectations, and follow through on your promises.